Wednesday, February 21, 2007

News? What gets Covered

This morning my clock radio awoke me with yet another recap of Jet Blue's problems resulting from the Valentine's day blizzard. That makes 8 days in a row that Jet Blue has been a top story for the national media. Last Sunday Peter Pan peanut butter made the news in a salmonella scare but that story lasted in the national media only 2 days and has all but disappeared from attention.

So why is a story of inconvenience that was caused by weather and compounded by poor management by an airline worthy of 8 days of intensive coverage but a story that is potentially a life and death issue only 2 days? To hear the media coverage one would get the impression that Jet Blue was the only airline that experienced any problems, delays or flight cancellations due to the snow storm. How many other airlines were disrupted? We weren't told. As for the peanut butter, how did they settle on Peter Pan peanut butter as the "strongly suspected" source? Have they tested any of the peanut butter to confirm their suspicions? If it isn't confirmed is the source possibly still out there?

As you flip from station-to-station, whether TV or radio, they are all covering exactly the same stories. Who decides what gets covered? They must all be using the same formula for deciding. One bright spot on the cable is BBC America. I turn there and yes, there really are stories out there beyond the US media's "formula news".

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